Friday, December 23, 2005

Peanut Butter, Planes, and Procreation

So, I have arrived safely in Tejas to spend this Christmas with my family. As I prepare to be confirmed in the Catholic Church this coming Easter, I have been reading through Peter Kreeft's book Catholic Christianity. I do love it. I brought it along on my flight, in addition to a smashed peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a baggy of broken Saltine crackers. (*drooling*) Hey, at least I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg to eat some MSG-saturated Chinese food at the airport, as much as I love to eat Chinese food.

I had my first introduction to teachings on sexual abstinence until marriage (via a Baptist church) when I was 12. It's been over a decade since then, and although sexual purity is very important to me, I often feel like there is nothing particularly gripping left to say on the subject. I feel that I have heard it all. However, as I began my journey towards Catholic Christianity, I discovered that the Church goes beyond "abstinence" and upholds what is known as "chastity." Chastity is much more than simply abstaining from sex until marriage; it involves living all of one's life before God in purity. It requires seeking purity of heart and mind, as well as purity of action. Spouses are to practice chastity in their relationship with one another, sexually and otherwise. Sexual marital chastity involves honoring the human dignity of one's spouse in sexual actions. This is why the Catholic Church teaches against things like sodomy, barriers and artificial "birth control", and climax outside of the intended sexual embrace. They are a means of treating one's spouse as an object for pleasure.

Well, Peter Kreeft has indeed blown-me-out-of-the-water with his observations on the marital sexual union. This stuff is revolutionizing how I think. In the Bible, it is written, "As a man thinketh, so he is" (sorry, I don't know the "address"). Guess this is why we are called by God to "renew our minds" and seek His help in surrendering our twisted perceptions and misguided affections to Him while seeking His truth (see Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 4:23).

Kreeft begins laying the foundation for grasping the truth about God's design for human sexuality as quoted below:

"To create a thing is to give it existence. To make a thing means to give new form to matter, to something that already exists. What is created is not just changed but made to exist in the first place.

"The closest man ever comes to creating is 'procreating'. Procreating is cooperating with God's most important act of creation . . . the creation of human beings, with immortal souls, destined to exist eternally. When God creates a new human soul out of nothing, he does so only when a man and a woman make a new body out of their previously existing matter and genetic form by sexual intercourse. That is why sex is holy" (45)

Are you ready for this? Kreeft picks up . . .

"Sexual intercourse is like the Consecration at Mass. It is a human work that God uses as the material means to do the most divine work done on earth. In the Mass, man offers bread and wine, the work of nature and human hands, for God to transform into the Body and Blood of Christ. In sex, man offers his work--the procreation of a new body--for God to do his work: the creation of a new soul. God grants priests the incredible dignity of being his instruments in working one of his two greatest miracles. God grants spouses the incredible dignity of being his instruments in working the other one.

"Something that is so very good 'ontologically', that is, in its being, essence, or nature, needs to be respected and rightly used. Misuse of something ontologically good is morally bad. The better and more important it is ontologically, the more seriously harmful its moral abuse is. We have rules for careful use of precious works of art, not for paper clips. . . .

"As Holy Mass is the place for the Transubstantiation, holy marriage is the place for sex" (61).

I never want to grow tired of this stuff; I want to truly know it so that I may live it from the depths of my being!

Merry Christmas!


Antioco Dascalon said...

Merry Christmas, Natalie. You and your family are in my prayers today.

Natalie said...

Thank you. I hope you had a blessed Christmas as well. Midnight Mass rules!